The Douglas Boulder is big, that is what I took away from today. Conner and Richie made tracks up the SW Ridge (III) whilst James and I fancied Direct Route (IV,4) which takes the front face of the Douglas Boulder from the lowest point. The first 80m or so is a nice snowy grade II ramp after which comes a couple of lovely icy chimney’s with great rock gear on the right hand side. From here we got led astray a little and just followed our noses up lovely ice ramps and even a good 5m icefall! Our rising traverse took us over to meet the top of SW Ridge and onto the top of the boulder.
The day was a full test of winter skills with massive run outs, stomper belays and an abseiling of a snow bollard to get us back into East Gully from the top of the route. The route in the guidebook is 215m, possibly 4 or 5 pitches but we managed 7 pitches, 3 of which were full 60m rope lengths, hence finishing at last light. Superb!
Calum and Richie bumped into Mike on Jacknife, other teams climbed The shield, Route I and SW Ridge (DB). We also bumped into Dave and Calum on route to an adventure toward the Brenva Face. Still lots and lots of snow about on Ben Nevis, care is needed with your approach but there’s so much to go at if your prepared to battle for it.